Court junks NOW Telecom’s TRO petition vs 3rd telco bid requirements
MANILA, Philippines – The selection process for the country’s 3rd major telecommunications player will push through as scheduled, as the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) overcame a legal hurdle.
The DICT reported on Friday, October 12, that Judge Dinnah Aguila-Topacio of the Manila Regional Trial Court branch 42 denied the request of NOW Telecom for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to stop the selection process.
NOW Telecom, an affiliate company of publicly-listed NOW Corporation, filed a complaint on Monday against the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) over the terms of reference (TOR) and what they deemed as money-making schemes.
NOW Telecom said that the P700-million participation security, P14 billion to P24 billion performance security and P10-million non-refundable appeal fee violate laws and “can be declared onerous, confiscatory, and potentially extortionary.”
The company filed the complaint on the same day they bought bid documents for the 3rd telco player slot.
With this development, DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr said the timeline for the NMP will proceed as planned.
“We will push through as scheduled,” said Rio.
In a Facebook post, NOW Corp president and Chief Executive Officer Mel Velarde said he was told that the TRO was not granted, but that the hearings on the case will resume on October 23.
“Yes, we don’t know when this would end, but everyone does know this is not a one-time or overnight kind of struggle,” Velarde said.
Velarde also posted a cryptic quote on his Facebook page a day after Rio slammed the company over the complaint.
“This is the cost of claiming destiny. Fasten your seatbelts. This fight is not for the ‘faint of heart.’ But remember, rewards are plenty – only if you fight. If you don’t, you’ve already lost,” he said.
Wild stock prices
Shares of NOW Corporation have been going on a wild ride due to the excitement of many investors.
NOW’s stock price was trading at only around P2 a piece in 2017, until it surged in 2018 when rumors surfaced about its planned bid for the telco space.
The once dormant stock suddenly became the local bourse’s darling, zooming to P15.70 on February 23. It even touched the P20 levels at some point intraday. However, prices have already plunged in the past couple of months.
Most traders remained cautious and did not recommend to buy NOW stocks due to volatility and being heavily fueled by speculation.
There were even chats on the trading floor of investors selling shares at a loss due to NOW Telecom’s case against the NTC.
Despite the uncertainty, many still opted to buy. NOW was the top gainer and was among the most actively traded on Friday. It closed at P5.61.
This was a big bounce of 28.67% from Thursday’s bleeding.
The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) also climbed back to the 7,000-levels on Friday after suffering heavy losses on Thursday. All counters were also in the green. – Rappler.com